Anonymous social media app Yik Yak is a platform for opinions, and threats

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Tour the comments section of just about anything online, and you begin to think the Amish may have a point about this whole technology thing.

Once anonymity is guaranteed to the darker corners of the internet, you have to brace yourself for what people are willing to say when they can't be identified.

But talk to Nadia Daniella, a senior at USC, and she'll remind you that anonymous online speech can have a softer, therapeutic side.

"My first Yak, I wrote, 'This weather makes me feel like I just don't want to do anything all day.' And it got alot of 'ups', like 30, and I was really proud of that."

Her "Yak" was her first anonymous post on Yik Yak, a social media app that has become incredibly popular among college and high school students. The app aggregates anonymous posts in a one and a half mile radius, with campuses like USC servng as the epicenter. 'Ups' are up-votes for people's comments.

For Daniella, knowing her anonymous post was shared with fellow USC students--some of whom were strangers, some of whom were likely friends that had no way of knowing it was her--made her feel less self-conscious about sharing how "blah" she was feeling.

"I felt more comfortable because it was anonymous," said Daniella. "Because if I had posted it on Facebook, I don't think that people would care so much about it. And I get annoyed when peole update their Facebook all the time."

Yik Yak has come under fire recently as the favored message board for school threats. Earlier today, Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach was close after someone said, "If you go to Costa, you should watch out very closely at school today."

The Mira Costa incident follows similar scares at a high school in San Clemente, one in Illinois, and Drake University stemming from Yik Yak posts.

Here at USC, the Department of Public Safety keeps a watchful eye on Yik Yak.

"What we do is basically enroll in Yik Yak, so we can look at Yik Yak," said DPS Deputy Chief Johnnie Adams. "And everyday we'll scroll through the different posts occasionally and see what we see."

Adams says that while Yik Yak promises the illusion of anonymity, in reality law enforcement can typically find the author of a threatening post fairly easily.

"It's an anonymous app, but like anything else there's a paper trail or a digitial footprint," said Adams.

That explains why authorities have been able to make arrests in several cases where threats are made on Yik Yak. As of the writing of this article, no arrest has yet been made in the Mira Costa High School case.

Check out the future home of Annenberg student media:

Wallis Annenberg Hall
(opening Fall 2014)